F-35 LIGHTNING II: STILL TROUBLED AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
Still not ready for primetime... Fans of the F-35 have had to put up with a deluge of good news and bad news stories the last few months. First, the good news: After a troubled development, the JSF has now considered to be in operational service with the USAF declaring its initial operating capability (IOC) in August of last year . The F-35 can no longer be in "development hell"... Sort of. Costs have gone down as well, with the latest batch of F-35s bringing the unit cost of the CTOL F-35A down to a reasonable $95 million *. (More on the "*" later.) As if to perform a mic drop on all this, an aerobatic performance at the Paris air show put to rest any criticisms that the F-35 cannot maneuver, accelerate, or climb. Piloted by Lockheed Martin test pilot (and former RCAF CF-18 pilot) Billie Flynn, the JSF performed a flawless routine. It even attracted the attention of zee Germans , who have thus far declined any participation in the JSF program .